In a tearful Facebook video posted on Friday (June 19), Georgia State Rep. Erica Thomas described an incident at an Atlanta-area Publix grocery store during which a white man “degraded and berated her.”
Thomas says she was in the express line at the grocery store because she was nine months pregnant and couldn’t stand for long periods of time.
“And this white man comes up to me and says: ‘You lazy son of a b***h,”’ Thomas said while sobbing. “He says: ‘You lazy son of a b***h; you need to go back where you came from.”’
The video subsequently went viral with the hashtag #IStandWithErica soon emerging. The man would be later identified as Eric Sparkes during a coincidental T.V. appearance he made.
Rep. Thomas of Austell, Georgia was waiting to be interviewed about the ordeal outside of the Mableton Publix store the following day when she suddenly spotted the man who she claims hurled verbal abuse at her in the checkout line. So she decided to confront him.
“If you know how you made me feel yesterday,” Thomas began telling Sparkes as the T.V. cameras rolled.
“Back off,” Sparkes replied, and then accused Thomas of lying about the incident.
“I’m a liar about what?”
“Everything that happened,” Sparkes says.
“Do you feel bad?” Thomas asked, referring to the incident from the day before.
“Me telling you to ‘Go back where you came from.’ Did I say that?” Sparkes interrupted. “Is it on video?”
“What did you say to me then?” Thomas asks.
Sparkes then admits that “I called you a lazy b***h,” adding that “That’s the worst thing I said.”
“Yeah, that makes you look better to say that,” Thomas scoffed.